The Challenge

GuideLink Center opened in Iowa City in January 2021, providing immediate care for adults facing emotional, mental health, and substance use challenges.

Establishing a local presence is vital for an organization like GuideLink, but as a new facility with little to no promotion, there was confusion and a lack of awareness regarding GuideLink’s specific services among community members and other organizations.

GuideLink’s website was helpful in defining their purpose, but it lacked promotion to drive traffic and clear direction to guide an individual to take next steps.

Ultimately, there was a need to draw attention, educate, and engage individuals across Johnson County about what GuideLink provides and the people they serve.

Our Approach

Goals drive our actions, so we established a clear objective for our work:

Educate a wide audience throughout Johnson County about GuideLink’s services for substance use and mental health needs.

Underlying this overarching goal was the need to increase traffic to their website.

With that in mind, we developed a multi-channel marketing plan with a digital emphasis to spread awareness and reach a variety of audiences throughout Johnson County, making a connection with the community and building a relationship with first responders, law enforcement, and hospitals and clinics.

Because of Google and YouTube’s strict substance use policies and the nature of GuideLink’s services, we had to get creative and strategic with digital ad placement and utilize traditional media platforms to expand our reach.

From there, we created a messaging strategy focused on GuideLink’s overall differentiators and specific services for substance use and mental health.

The Work

We launched GuideLink’s campaign on June 1, 2022, running for more than a year through June 30, 2023. Midway through our campaign—as GuideLink expanded their service area—we extended our reach to an additional eight counties in northeast Iowa. Our multi-platform promotions included:

  • Digital advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, OTT/CTV, and Spotify
  • Traditional media advertising with a radio spot and ads in community newspapers
  • Print promotion through posters, rack cards, and an “Our Services” business card
  • Special swag, including a sunglass case with carabiner holder, car coasters, and a car dashboard silicone mat

The platform variety allowed us to direct messaging to a wide audience through multiple touchpoints, boosting visibility.

We also created a specific FAQ page to clarify service offerings and help with tracking.

The Results

Our campaign catapulted awareness, directly increasing traffic to GuideLink’s website and spurring engagement on the FAQ page. Here’s a look at the campaign’s impact:

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The digital efforts played a major role, accounting for more than 90% of the total traffic to the FAQ page.

Snapchat was the largest driver of traffic, accounting for 60.35% of total pageviews. Not included in that number is direct traffic, which accounted for 305 pageviews.

The numbers tell the story of collaboration, strategy, and creative thinking. The result was a campaign that increased awareness and engagement, helping GuideLink establish themselves in the community and connecting people with the services they need.

We were looking for strategies to spread awareness about our new healthcare facility and the variety of crisis care options we could offer our communities. We were very impressed with the professionalism and creativity we encountered throughout the entire experience. The team at de Novo assessed our needs, listened to our input, and ultimately helped us reach our marketing goals. We really appreciate how your efforts helped us reach a significant amount of people who could benefit from our services. Thank you de Novo!

— Abbey Ferenzi, LMHC, Executive Director, GuideLink Center